Harry Potter star launches workplace harassment helpline

The initiative aims to empower women in holding their abusers and employers accountable

Harry Potter star launches workplace harassment helpline

Celebrity and activist Emma Watson – who has been actively campaigning for women’s rights under the banner of Time’s Up UK – has kickstarted a free hotline for women facing harassment on the job.

The hotline is breaking new ground as the first and only assistance program in England and Wales to focus on women’s experiences at work. The service aims to inform women of their rights and the actions they can take to hold their abusers and employers accountable.

“Understanding what your rights are, how you can assert them and the choices you have if you’ve experienced harassment is such a vital part of creating safe workplaces for everyone,” said Watson.

“This advice line is such a huge development in ensuring that all women are supported, wherever we work.”

READ MORE: How to handle workplace sexual harassment claims

Watson, who donated her own money to help launch the program, said she is hopeful the public will begin to “see a new climate of prevention and accountability” regarding the issue, especially after the International Labour Organization recently published a treaty on workplace harassment.

“It finally feels like people are realising the scale of the problem,” she said.

The helpline has also received support from the justice and equality fund of Time’s Up UK and through public donations.

The charity group Rights of Women will offer legal advice while Rosa, the UK Fund for Women and Girls, will manage the program.

For Deeba Syed, senior legal officer at Rights of Women, sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be handled in a “gendered manner that is negative, undermining or can lead to victimisation”.

“That is why Rights of Women will also work towards dismantling the underlying structural problems that puts the burden on victims and makes it difficult for women to come forward through its policy work,” Syed said.

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